Iraq/Mosul: Attacks against two churches, confusing reports

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Reports are still confusing regarding a double attack against two Christian Churches in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The episodes were confirmed to MISNA by the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Monsignor Basile Georges Casmoussa, though he couldn't provide further details. Based on a first report of the Aswat al-Iraq news agency, at least 4 people were killed and 40 wounded in the blasts, while some international media report 1 dead. Also the different reconstructions remain uncertain. Aswat al-Iraq reports that two churches were targeted: the Virgin Mary Church in al-Shifaa neighborhood, in western Mosul and the Annunciation Church in Chourta, in the northern neighbourhood of al-Mohandiseen, where an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) or some grenades - depending on the sources - were launched against the building, causing damages though without any casualties. The most violent episode occurred outside the Virgin Mary Church, where the two blasts claimed victims also among people in the nearby Christian 'Al-Ghassanya' primary school. Also on this detail reports are confusing: according to some sources, some children are among the wounded, while Monsignor Casmoussa said that all the students escaped the blasts unharmed. "The attacks of the past weeks (another 4 Churches were targeted since the start of the month) and killing of Christians is a terrible message for us, a new sentiment of spreading fear. Unfortunately these attacks will keep the faithful away from the Churches at Christmas. The government is weak, six years from the start of the conflict, and is still not able to guarantee our security here in Mosul. There is always a pretext behind these attacks, at least according to observers. Now they are referring to political battles between parties and groups ahead of next year's elections", added the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul.